Now more than ever, it is essential to keep our immune systems in top shape. The way we eat, exercise, manage stress and live our daily lives all play a role in how our immune system works.
The immune system is what hosts a virus, like COVID-19, and the strength of the immune system determines the progression of the virus. Therefore, we need to ensure that our immune systems are up to the task of fighting bugs effectively.
There are hundreds of thousands of nutrients, herbs and supplements, such as olive leaf, grapefruit seed extract, mushrooms, etc., that can help your immune system. Below, I’ll describe three that we know help immune function AND how they work with COVID-19.
Interestingly, those who are high-risk for COVID-19 also fall into the category of those who are associated with zinc deficiencies. Zinc deficiencies impede the survival times of immune cells and stop some cells from working. (Remember high school biology…the Pac Man of the immune system that gobbles up foreign cells? No zinc = no gobble). Zinc is also anti-viral and preserves natural tissue barriers such as respiratory epithelium, preventing pathogen entry into the body.
Zinc has been researched in combination with other vitamins and drugs in several ongoing trials for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and has shown promise.
There can be zinc toxicity and TOO much can actually impede the immune system (> 300mg/day). Taking a lower dose of 30-60mg can be a beneficial boost to your immune system.
A widely used micro-nutrient and a well-known antioxidant, Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system. Many of us probably have a bottle of vitamin C in our medicine cabinets, or have been told to eat more foods with high vitamin C such as citrus fruit, broccoli, brussel sprouts and strawberries.
Overall, in research, it has been shown that regular use of vitamin C supplements shortens the duration of the common cold. Vitamin C has some antiviral effects and it is likely that this effect is why vitamin C has attracted interest as a possible treatment of COVID-19. It has been used in hospitals with significant benefit when used intravenously in patients with moderate to severe COVID-19.
A recent study published in JAMA showed that the intravenous administration of 1.5 GM vitamin C every six hours significantly decreased the mortality rate of septic patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome by 30%.
The bottom line is – take your vitamin C! Recommended daily doses range from 90 mg (RDA) to 10,000 mg per day. Somewhere in the middle is best, about 1000mg per day, in divided doses, to keep your immune system happy.
A steroid hormone synthesized from cholesterol, Vitamin D has recently been reported to have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties based on various studies done with the hepatitis C virus infection.
Vitamin D impedes some anti-inflammatory cytokines and it has been shown in research that vitamin D helps to stop COVID-19 by direct inhibition with viral replication or with anti-inflammatory or immunomodulatory ways. Vitamin D status has also been linked with mortality and progression of COVID (vitamin D good = less COVID) and has been shown to reduce acute respiratory infections.
Vitamin D is safe, affordable and shown to be effective in fighting viruses, including COVID-19, and in supporting overall immune function.
Optimal levels in the body are equal to 70 ng/ml. If you have done a vitamin D test, then you can look at the results for the number. To get to the optimal number, take 1000 IU of vitamin D for every 10 points that you need to get to 70. For example, if your number is 35 ng/ml, you would take 3500IU per day (with food if it is not a liquid/gel) because it is fat soluble. If you need more help with this or would like to take a Vitamin D test, we can help! Please talk to our sister brand, Nest, operated by Dr. Kristi Harter.